Political map of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The capital city of the UAE is Abu Dhabi. The UAE is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Gulf of Oman. The UAE's per capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. Its generosity with oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed the UAE to play a vital role in the affairs of the region. For more than three decades, oil and global finance drove the UAE's economy, however, in 2008-09, the confluence of falling oil prices, collapsing real estate prices, and the international banking crisis hit the UAE especially hard.